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Cumming Slip & Fall Attorney

Slip and Falls

Slip and fall injuries happen when someone is hurt due to some kind of hazard or danger on another business or individual’s premises. These dangers can include things like poor lighting, uneven stairs, or poorly maintained walkways. If a property owner knows (or should have known) about these dangers, the owner must take reasonable and adequate steps to ensure that visitors to their property are safe. Failing to do so can be deemed negligence under Georgia law, and injury victims should seek help from an experienced Cumming GA slip and fall lawyer at Spaulding Injury Law.

Slip and Fall Law is Complex in Georgia

Georgia law relating to slip and fall injuries is complicated. Slip and falls as a description makes these injuries sound minor and of little consequence. On the contrary, they can lead to life-altering injuries, which lead to extensive medical expenses and even loss of the ability to work. Therefore, it is essential to have a skilled attorney who understands the law behind these cases and whether your case may fall within the compensable category.

Status of Injured Party

The standard of care depends upon the status of the person injured relating to the property. Under the law, there are three kinds of visitors to a piece of property:

  • InviteesGeorgia law defines an invitee as someone who has been expressly invited or welcomed onto the premises, essentially for the owner´s benefit. These would include customers during business hours, employees during work hours, contractors, service providers, and others who have implicitly or explicitly asked or are allowed to be on the premises.
  • Licensees: Georgia law defines a licensee as someone the owner permits to be on a property but whose presence on the premises is not based on a contract with the owner and is solely in pursuit of the person´s own interests, convenience, or pleasure.
  • Trespassers: Trespassers have neither an invitation nor permission to be on the premises.

A property owner, in most states, will owe some level of care to anyone on their property, even trespassers. This duty is not the case in Georgia. In Georgia, to recover from a negligent slip and fall injury, the injured party must be able to show that he or she was not trespassing on the premises. The applicable standards of care are:

  • Invitees: The property owner must exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches to the premises safe.
  • Licensees: For an invitee, the property owner will be liable only for a willful or wanton, that is reckless injury.
  • Trespassers: As with a licensee, trespassers can only recover if they can demonstrate that the injury was caused by willful or wanton conduct.

In other words, unless you were an invitee when you were injured, a slip and fall or premises liability case can be a very challenging case in the State of Georgia.

Knowledge of the Hazard

Even for an invitee, there are challenges to be overcome. The legal liability or duty to invitees will only apply if the property owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the danger. Actual knowledge means what it says, while constructive knowledge means that, even if the owner did not know about the hazard, he or she should have known.

Constructive Knowledge is Hard to Prove

Because proof of constructive knowledge is subjective, it can be awkward to prove. That is why you will need to consult with experienced slip and fall counsel. But, there are ways to demonstrate that someone should have known something was a problem: If, for example, the injured party can show that the owner inspected the property but failed to find the danger, the standard will likely be met. Similarly, if the owner was in the location of the hazard and could have easily noticed and repaired it, constructive knowledge will be provable. However, there are defenses to either actual or constructive knowledge claims.

Plain View Hazards

The law expects people to pay attention to their surroundings. Thus, when someone is injured by a hazard that was in plain sight and is of a sort that would be likely in that location, the law will assume that he or she will have taken steps to avoid the injury. On the other hand, property owners are also expected to ensure that those obstacles are in plain sight and do not create an unreasonable hazard. There is no duty to warn invitees about dangers in plain view because an invitee is viewed as having the same knowledge as the owner in that circumstance.

Potential Hazards

So, what are the kinds of hazards that might result in a slip and fall injury? These can include:

  1. Poor lighting
  2. Building code violations
  3. Poorly maintained floors, walls, or roofs
  4. Spills
  5. Icy or snowy conditions
  6. Stairs, handrails, or walkways in poor condition

So long as they were not so obvious as to be considered in plain view, any of these can result in a compensable injury.

The Owner May Not Be Entirely at Fault

Georgia follows the law of comparative negligence. This policy means that if the injured party could have avoided the injury by exercising ordinary care, he or she will not be able to recover damages. In practice, this means that if you are found to be 49% or less at fault, then you can recover up to 51% of your damages.

For example, if your damages were $100,000 and you were 25% at fault, your recovery would be $75,000. On the other hand, if you were 50% or more at fault, then your potential recovery is zero. An example of the latter would be if the injured party was shopping, saw an obvious hazard between the shopper and a desired object, and went for it anyway. There, the court would find  that the shopper failed to use ordinary care to avoid the obvious hazard.

Contact A Cumming GA Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Today

Georgia law provides a relatively short two years to file a personal injury claim. Because of this, it’s crucial that, if you have experienced a slip and fall injury in Cumming, you should contact an experienced Cumming GA slip and fall accident lawyer for a free case consultation as soon as possible. Delay can hurt your chances to recover.

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